Media Release – The Environmental State of Canada

Commentary, Environment, Frontier Centre, Saskatchewan

Winnipeg: The Frontier Centre for Public Policy today released The Environmental State of Canada: 2013 Update. The authors of the paper are Ben Eisen, the Assistant Research Director and Senior Policy Analyst with the Frontier Centre and Romy Yourex.

The study examines medium- and long-term trends surrounding the health and vitality of Canada’s natural environment across a wide range of indicators. The authors conclude that in many areas, Canada’s environment has become measurably cleaner and greener in recent years and decades. This report relies primarily on data collected by Environment Canada and other federal government agencies.  The authors examine Canada’s several different dimensions of Canada’s environmental performance including trends surrounding air pollution levels, water quality and soil health. 

Most of the indicators examined suggest that Canada’s natural environment has become substantially healthier in recent years. Key specific findings include:   

  • Conventional air pollution: In recent decades, ambient levels of several different types of harmful air pollutants have fallen significantly in Canada’s urban centres.
  • Freshwater quality: According to the internationally respected Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Canada is a world leader in this area. One recent analysis showed that Canada’s freshwater is less polluted than the water in many of its peer countries. In this analysis, only Sweden was shown to have higher freshwater quality than Canada.
  • Soil Health: Data from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada shows that Canada’s agricultural soils are healthier and much better protected from erosion than was the case 30 years ago.
  • Forestry: The share of Canada’s forest that has been certified as being sustainably managed by internationally recognized third parties has grown steadily over recent decades to the point that Canada has more certified sustainable forestland than any other country
  • Greenhouse gas emissions GHG emissions per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by more than 27 per cent between 1990 and 2010. This statistic means that substantially more goods were produced and more economic activity occurred per unit of GHG emitted in 2010 compared with 1990.

The authors conclude that there is room for further improvement in several areas, and that specific regions of the country continue to face significant specific, local environmental challenges. However, overall, the evidence presented in the study shows that generally speaking, across a broad range of performance measures, Canada’s environment has become significantly cleaner and greener in recent years.

Download a copy of The Environmental State of Canada: 2013 Update here.

For more information and to arrange an interview with the study's author, media (only) should contact:

Ben Eisen, Assistant Research Director.